Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Amenemhat
Complex of Amenemhat III, Dahshur
March, 1979, by Dr. Dieter Arnold, German
Archaeological Institute in Cairo (Exc. Nos.
IV 116-117 & IV 124-125)
Two vessels were returned in 2008,
one by Christie's Auction House, New York,
by Rupert Wace Ancient Art Ltd., London.
Both vessels are now in the Egyptian Museum,
additional vessels remain missing.
two calcite vessels in the shape of trussed
ducks were discovered during excavations
of the German Archaeological Institute in
Cairo at Dahshur in 1979. They were duly
registered as property of the Egyptian Government
and stored in a storeroom in Saqqara, Egypt.
Sometime after their excavation, the duck-shaped
vessels, along with a number of other objects
(including two similar vessels) were stolen
from the storeroom.
2006, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was
offered these two vessels for sale by Christie's
Auction House, New York and by Rupert Wace
Ancient Art Ltd. in London. By chance, Dr.
Dieter Arnold, the excavator of the vessels,
who is a curator at the MMA, was given the
vessels to example. Dr. Arnold declined to
purchase the vessels because their provenances
were incomplete and unconvincing.
Dr. Arnold and his assistant, Dr. Adela Oppenheim,
continued to study the photographs of the
objects, and realized the vessels were the
same ones Dr. Arnold had excavated nearly
forty years ago in Dahshur! Dr. Arnold had
not immediately recognized the vessels because
they had been extensively restored since
illegally leaving Egypt. Dr. Arnold immediately
informed Dr. Zahi Hawass and the Supreme
Council of Antiquities about the vessels
and a thorough investigation was initiated.
Wace Ancient Art Ltd. returned the duck in
their possession to its current owner in
Paris, PIASA, and informed them that the
object was a stolen antiquity. In 2007, PIASA
returned the vessel to the government of
Egypt. Christie's removed their duck vessel
from auction and turned it over to the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security. It was also
returned to Egypt in 2007.
the other two offering vessels and objects
stolen from the Saqqara storeroom remain
missing. They remain property of the Egyptian
government and should be returned by their
possessors to Egypt's Supreme Council of
One of the recovered duck-shaped vessels (Christies)
|The second of
the recovered duck-shaped vessels (Rupert Wace Gallery)